India and New Zealand lock horns in third and final Test of the series at the Holkar Stadium in Indore starting on Saturday.
Having already secured the series as well as the number one Test ranking, India will be looking to whitewash New Zealand and claim a 3-0 series win against the Black Caps.
Can Kane Williamson and his men salvage some pride at the Holkar Stadium or will it be business as usual for the kings of the Sub-Continent?
India vs New Zealand | Saturday 8 Sept – Wednesday 12 Sept | Holkar Stadium, Indore
To Win Match
India 5/10 | Draw 5/2 | New Zealand 11/2
The result of this series was never really in doubt, was it? India are undoubtedly the best team in the world at playing Sub-Continent conditions and it’s showed in their last two major home series against South Africa and New Zealand respectively.
They’re 5/10 to make it a 3-0 whitewash against a Black Caps squad who have very limited experience playing Test cricket in India. To be frank, there really shouldn’t even be a price on the Indians to win this match, they’ll walk it comfortably.
That said, the Indians have never played a Test at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. The ground, which was established in 1990, has only ever hosted four international matches – all of which were ODIs between April 2006 and October 2015. The home side won all four of those games with Virender Sehwag famously scoring a double-century (only the second double ton in ODI cricket at the time). So this ground has a penchant for the spectacular, let’s hope it lives up to its billing!
Looking at the Indian team, you can’t identify any real weakness. Murali Vijay has been solid at the top of the order in both matches, with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane providing the steel in the top and middle order.
We don’t really have to make too much mention of the Indian bowlers. Ravichandran Ashwin has once again underlined his status as one of the all-time great Sub-Continent bowlers. The Chennai native has helped himself to 14 wickets in this series, including match figures of 10-225 in the first match. Not far behind him is Ravindra Jadeja with 10 wickets. Jadeja also boasts the best series economy rate, conceding on average just 2.12 runs in each of his 100 overs bowled in the series thus far.
The hosts don’t have any injury worries and should be able to put out a full-strength side in a bid to tighten their grip on the number one Test ranking. Expect the likes of Ashwin, Jadeja and Pujara to play big roles in this match. Also keep an eye on Virat Kohli – the Indian skipper has been uncharacteristically off-colour in this series. He’ll be dead keen on rectifying that in the third Test.
The Black Caps should have their captain and talisman back for the third and final Test against India this weekend. The skipper missed the second Test due to illness but looked strong in an open net session on Wednesday.
Mike Hesson will be ecstatic with the return of his captain, who could just maybe swing things in the favour of the Black Caps should he fire. There’s very little doubting the quality that the Tauranga native brings to this side. While Williamson won’t be able to turn a game around on his own, he will be able to partner with the likes Tom Latham, Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Santner who have all looked good in periods but haven’t been able to form substantial partnerships.
Santner will be keen to continue on with his fine bowling form. The 24-year-old is behind Ashwin and Jadeja in the wicket-taking stakes for this tour and desperately love to make the difference against the Indians in Indore. He is able to extract a lot of spin with his left-arm orthodox deliveries which could well be key in the final Test against an Indian top and middle order that’s struggled a bit against the sharply turning ball.
When it’s all said and done, however, the Black Caps simply do not have the personnel nor the experience to claim the win over India that they so desire. Mike Hesson will be all too aware of this and will encourage his players to learn from the experience and come back stronger in their next Sub-Continent tour.
Verdict: India 5/10
While New Zealand have shown excellent application and fighting spirit on this tour, they simply don’t have the Sub-Continent guile or experience to beat this Indian side on home soil. Back India confidently at 5/10.
Value bet: A 100 to be Scored in the Match: No at 5/1
Batting in India is not easy, everyone knows that. As much has been highlighted in this series where no batsman has managed to reach three figures. In fact, only Ajinkya Rahane has managed a century in the last home series that India have played in. That came back in December 2015 where his back-to-back centuries in Delhi helped India to a massive 337-run win over South Africa. These stats don’t lie, 5/1 is an excellent price – especially considering that we’ve yet to see a Test played at this venue. Get on!
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.